Lesson #3

September 15, 2014


Handouts for this Week

Lesson for This Week


Examining The Scene, Trusting The Audience

Today we will be discussing the issue of "where to cut" from two points of view -- when not to cut, and when you've gone too far and should cut. Last time we discussed the question of "Where to cut" from the point of view of the actual edit. This week we are going to broaden the discussion and bring it to the scene level. In other words, how do you know when the audience has gotten your point? How and when can you trust the audience?

At the begining of the semester I told you that I rarely will show a film which I did not like, but that I would do it twice this semester. In tonight's case I believe that there is something to be learned from an analysis of a scene from MEET JOE BLACK even though I think that it is terribly edited. We will examine the scene from the audience's point of view. When is too much, sometimes too much? How can we learn when to cut? The script for this scene is online here. Take a look at it.

We will also discuss some of the lessons you've learned from your first weeks editing on the Avid. What was the process you went through to analyze the film with your partner? How did you go about making your scene annalyses? How did you decide where to make your edits?

What I'll be asking you tonight, as every week, is the following:

  1. What was your analysis?
  2. Where are the beats?
  3. How did you work those beats?

laworder1Finally, depending on how much time we have, we will be looking at how editor Jim Stewart, along with the director and showrunners, put together the scene from the "Branded" episode of LAW & ORDER:SVU that aired back on October 19, 2010.

Of course, unlike our editing exeercise, this scene had over eighteen minutes of show time before it, so some of the requirements were different than ours. There is also the reality that the character of Detective Elliot Stabler -- played by Chris Meloni -- is one of the leads of the series, unlike the other three characters in the scene, shown here. That slants the scene analysis that has to be performed before editing the scene.


The following handouts will be given out this week. Click on the blue highlighted terms to get to the actual handouts

Script for the scene from BURN NOTICE
This is the scene that you will be editing this week. Note that this includes the script supervisor's notes as well as the lined script.
Online tutorials on multicam editing in Avid
There are a few places to learn about multicam editing that will not be covered in this week's class with Reine-Claire. One is in the movie "Migrating From Final Cut Pro 7 to Media Composer 5.5" from lynda.com. Another one is on the Creative Cow called "Multicam Editing in Avid's Media Composer" which concentrates on creating multicam clips as well as editing from them. A shorter tutorial on those topics is on geniusDV.

Assignments for Next Week

Re-edit your scene from GLADIATOR
I've given each of your some notes. You should discuss them together (remember, you are in equal editing partnerships for this exercise).
Edit the scene from BURN NOTICE
You will notice that these are multi-cam takes

Added Material

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Robert Towne on "Shoe Leather"
A quote from an old interview with Towne, the writer and director. Pay particular attention to his comment on shoe leather.
How Steve Semel Sees The Editing Process (PDF File)
Steve, an accomplished editor himself, sees editing as a continual process of creation and recreation. Look at the lines that I've highlighted in yellow. Also, he gives a technique that he uses to gauge his time. I've added my two cents into the process in red.
Joe Hutshing Interview about MEET JOE BLACK (PDF File)
Hutshing, one of the editors on MEET JOE BLACK, talks about the process of editing the film. He touches, briefly (and with great and necessary political savvy) the reason why the film was so long and deliberate.
Dylan Tichenor/MAGNOLIA Interview (PDF File)
Each week, until the sixth or seventh week in the class, we will be getting excerpts from interviews about how editors think about the material they edit and how things changed in the film during the editing. Tonight's handout is from Dylan Tichenor, the editor of 1999's MAGNOLIA. Now, you may gather from my discussions in class, that I feel that MAGNOLIA, despite it positive aspects, is an example of a film in which the director occasionally didn't pay attention to the material that was sitting in front of him (check out the final scene in the film), but this doesn't change Tichenor's
AFI Top 100 Films Of All Time
The AFI polled... somebody... and came up with a list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. Okay, CITIZEN KANE does belong on it. Maybe even at the top. Check out the list and see if there are films you haven't seen that you'd like to see. The list has links to descriptions of the films. The last time I was on the site those links were broken. If you want to just see the list, I've got it on my site under AFI's Top 100 List. This link leads to a page with all of AFI's Top 100 lists. The listing for the PDF of the Top 100 Films is here.
How To Get Employers To Read Your Resume
Though this article is written from a non-film perspective it offers some valuable guidance on how to get a job. It discusses how to get employers to read your resume and make it a rewarding experience for them. Getting in the door is often a question of who you know, and that's true in any business. But there are other learnable skills, as well. Here are some tips.
Subtitled "Cinema in the digital age" this is a growing site which is devoted to Digital Cinema. There is a great page of links to sites which show digital films, rent digital films, talk about digital films, and help with digital films.

Though I've tried to accomodate other browsers THIS SITE IS DESIGNED FOR BEST USE WITH IE for the PC, SAFARI for the Mac, and FIREFOX for both the PC and the Mac. It also looks reasonably good on the iPhone. Lucked out on that!

All material, except where noted, ©1999-2013 by Norman Hollyn. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an e-mail at my office
Last Modified - October 15, 2013